US Domestic News: Changes in Biden Campaign, Abortion Rights, and Legal Issues

This summary highlights key US domestic news: President Biden's $50 million ad campaign targeting Trump's felony convictions, evolving abortion rights post-Roe v. Wade, Maryland Governor's mass pardons of marijuana convictions, and legal cases including anti-Arab/antisemitic incidents, youth obesity treatment, and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine lawsuit.

Reuters | Updated: 18-06-2024 05:21 IST | Created: 18-06-2024 05:21 IST
US Domestic News: Changes in Biden Campaign, Abortion Rights, and Legal Issues
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Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

New $50 million Biden ad campaign targets Trump felony convictions

President Joe Biden's campaign will target Republican challenger Donald Trump's felony convictions as part of a $50 million ad campaign ahead of the first presidential debate between both candidates on June 27. The move, one of the largest advertising spends of the campaign so far, marks a notable shift in Biden's approach to Trump's conviction after the president's initial reluctance to weigh in on the issue, to avoid engaging with Trump's legal woes.

US abortion rights still in flux two years after Roe reversal

Nearly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, litigation over abortion has exploded. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in 2022's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that the court's longstanding precedent had "enflamed debate and deepened division." He said it was time to take the abortion issue out of the hands of the court and return it "to the people's elected representatives."

Maryland governor pardons over 175,000 low-level marijuana convictions

The governor of Maryland pardoned more than 175,000 low-level marijuana convictions on Monday, an executive action he said was aimed at addressing the disproportionate impact the state's drug policies have had on people of color. The mass pardon by Governor Wes Moore, a Democrat, comes after Maryland residents voted in November 2022 to legalize adult use of marijuana through a ballot referendum.

Indian suspect in plot to kill Sikh separatist pleads not guilty in US court

An Indian man suspected by the U.S. of involvement in an unsuccessful Indian government-backed plot to kill a Sikh separatist on American soil pleaded not guilty on Monday to murder-for-hire conspiracy charges in federal court in Manhattan. Nikhil Gupta has been accused by U.S. federal prosecutors of plotting with an Indian government official to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a U.S. resident who advocated for a sovereign Sikh state in northern India.

US says two universities fell short in addressing anti-Arab, antisemitic hate

The University of Michigan and the City University of New York have fallen short in addressing recent incidents of anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and antisemitic nature, the U.S. Education Department said on Monday. The department also reached resolutions with both universities over complaints of such incidents. The schools agreed to take some steps like re-opening some past complaints, reporting their results to the government, training personnel on how to respond to claims of discrimination and conducting more surveys to assess such discriminatory experiences, the Education Department said in a statement.

Weight-loss options for US youth are hard to come by

For many U.S. parents seeking help for a child with obesity, the most widely-endorsed treatment is out of reach - and it's not the popular weight-loss drug Wegovy. Leading medical groups recommend intensive behavioral counseling - 26 hours within one year - to teach children and their families practical ways to eat healthier and move more. But these programs are not widely available, and wait lists can run for several months. They are often not covered by health insurance and require a time commitment that is difficult for many families to make, according to interviews with more than a dozen doctors and parents. As a result, fewer than 1% of the nearly 15 million U.S. children with obesity get this type of structured care, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Reuters. Efforts by the CDC and others to expand insurance coverage have stalled, doctors involved in the process told Reuters. "The coverage for these programs was never good, and we're not seeing any movement toward improvement," said Dr. Joseph Skelton, a professor of pediatrics and an obesity medicine specialist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The prevalence of obesity among U.S. children has steadily increased, from 5% in 1980 to nearly 20% now, according to the CDC. Novo Nordisk's Wegovy was approved for adults in 2021 and for adolescents in late 2022, offering a highly effective way to lose weight for the first time. Novo still cannot meet demand for the drug among adults, with at least 25,000 first-time prescriptions dispensed each week. A much smaller, but growing, number of families are seeking the drug for their adolescents, Reuters found in February. Many doctors and parents are wary of using the medication without data on whether Wegovy can affect a child's development, or pose other long-term risks. CHANGING HABITS Ruth Medina of Holyoke, Massachusetts, wanted to see if a change in family habits, rather than medication, could help her 15-year-old daughter, Jelainie, when she reached 200 pounds this year. The family has a history of type 2 diabetes, she said, a condition exacerbated by excess weight. "I don't want to go down that path. That's when I got scared," Medina said. Jelainie's pediatrician recommended the healthy weight program at Holyoke Health Center where children and their parents come for visits with a dietician and community health worker to set individual goals, plus group sessions about cooking, deciphering nutritional labels and other lifestyle changes. Dr. Vinny Biggs, who oversees the program, said families face a four-month wait to enroll. Medina and her daughter's participation is covered, in part, by the state Medicaid health insurance program, Biggs said. At the family's first session this month, Jelainie cut up cauliflower, carrots and other vegetables to prepare a paella dish alongside her instructors. Mother and daughter said they liked the meal and took home leftovers and the recipe. Jelainie has lost some weight. She started walking more, playing tennis and snacking on fruits and vegetables. Her mother still worries about the appeal of the many fast-food restaurants close to their home. "We walk by so many temptations," Medina said. "I want to do whatever I can to get her to a healthy weight." RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an influential federal panel of experts, says it's better to stick to lifestyle changes for adolescents with obesity until more data on the long-term safety and effectiveness of the drugs are available, according to a draft recommendation published in December. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that youth aged 12 and older should be offered medications for obesity, but only as an "adjunct to health behavior and lifestyle treatment."

Kansas accuses Pfizer of misleading public about COVID vaccine in lawsuit

The U.S. state of Kansas on Monday sued Pfizer, accusing the company of misleading the public about its COVID-19 vaccine by hiding risks while making false claims about its effectiveness. In a lawsuit filed in the District Court of Thomas County, the state said the New York-based drugmaker's alleged false statements violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. It is seeking unspecified money damages.

US FDA approves Merck's pneumococcal vaccine for adults

Merck said on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its next-generation vaccine to protect adults against the pneumococcal disease. The disease can lead to infections in several parts of the body including the lungs, where they can cause pneumonia. There are around 100 different strains of the bacteria that can cause those infections.

Boeing CEO to tell US Congress planemaker's culture is 'far from perfect'

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun will tell a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday that the planemaker understands concerns about its safety culture after a January mid-air emergency involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 raised widespread alarm. "Much has been said about Boeing's culture. We've heard those concerns loud and clear. Our culture is far from perfect, but we are taking action and making progress," Calhoun will tell the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, according to his written statement first reported by Reuters. "I know full well that this is an industry where we simply must get it right, every time."

Biden protections for LGBT students blocked in six more states

A federal judge in Kentucky on Monday blocked President Joe Biden's administration from implementing new protections for LGBT students from discrimination in schools and colleges based on their gender identities in six Republican-led states that challenged the federal rule as unlawful. The ruling by Lexington-based U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves brought to 10 the number of states where judges have blocked the U.S. Department of Education rule from taking effect on Aug. 1 as planned. The rule, issued in April, extends to LGBT students protections provided by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 against discrimination "on the basis of sex."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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